WAY TO BOOST YOUR MEMORYThe brain they say, is like any other muscle; dont use it and you lose it. How often have you known something, and not been able to recall the exact information when you require it? Met someone who seems very familiar, but you couldnt recall the name? Forgotten to pick up the laundry on your way back home?
While you could laugh it off as growing old, or information overload, or even stress of daily living, at the end of the day, the person who is the most clued in and able to recall information well is the one who will have an advantage over you. Memory loss could be part of ageing or sheer mental laziness. The good news is that memory loss can be delayed and reversed, by mental exercise, diet and nutrition as well as physical exercise. After an extensive session with a couple of psychologists and psychiatrists heres what we gathered for our readers:
The truth about our memory
It is an accepted fact that most adults use not even10 percent of the brain capacity. The enormity of the unused brain power is absolutely staggering. Harnessing even 50 percent of your mental capacity would make you leapfrog into genius category. Recent research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science reveals the capacity of the brain to grow through the years instead of declining. A study conducted at University College, London compared brain scans of male London cabbies with brain scans of men from the general population. They found that the posterior hippocampus in the brains of the cabbies was significantly larger than that found in the general population. This part of the brain is regarded as the area responsible for navigation, learning and special memory. The researchers found that those with larger posterior hippocampus were experienced taxi drivers, which made the researchers conclude that working out this area of the brain was what led to its growth. In fact, researchers from the University of California at Irvine found that a healthy brain continues to grow new neurons indefinitely, which can actually slow the brains ageing process and even reverse existing damage. But a healthy brain is the product of a balanced lifestyle that includes proper nutrition, stress management and mental and physical exercise. While it is important to exercise your body, many of us neglect to exercise our mind. We get routine behaviours that lead to habitual responses which do not challenge our neural wiring. Memory and brain power is all about energy. How can you develop your brain power and fire your dendrites and synapses?
Believe it or not, a combination of diet, physical exercise and mental workouts are necessary to get your mind in ship shape.
Your short term memory is what reacts best to mental exercise. Believe it or not, actors have the best short term memory skills because they are so used to memorising a new set of lines everyday. Thats probably the best workout they could give their brain. But there are other mental workouts you could do to improve your brain power.
Lead an active life
You may wonder how physical exercise can improve your brain cells, simple exercise has a feel-good effect on the entire body because of the endorphins released. These endorphins lower the stress levels and bring the body to a state of calm and well-being. The positive impact on your overall health, and on stress and depression lowers their ability to interfere with memory. Bruce McEwen, PhD, of Rockefeller University in New York proposed that repeated stress can lead to the bodys inability to turn off its major biological stress pathway; a factor that can directly lead to significant memory loss. His breakthrough findings were reported in a review article published in the New England Journal of Medicine on January 15, 1998. He noted that the production of two substances, glucocorticoids (the bodys natural steroids), and excitatory amino acid neurotransmitters (chemical substances that enable nerve transmission in key areas) directly result in atrophy or wasting away of nerve fibers termed dendrites in the hippocampus. Certain health conditions like Alzheimers, high blood pressure and senile dementia definitely have a negative impact on learning and memory, which need medical attention. But, contrary to what we believed earlier, mental decline is not because of the death of the nerve cells, but rather of the thinning out of the branches of the nerve cells that process information. The biological changes promoted by exercise improve our capacity to master new and remember old information, states Dr John J. Ratey Harvard University clinical psychiatry professor and author of A Users Guide to the brain. Ratey explains that physical movements call upon many of the same neurons used for reading, writing and math and physically active people reported an increase in academic abilities, memory retrieval and cognitive abilities. Study participants at the Beckham Institute for Science and Technology at University of Illinois at Urbana -Champagne who changed from a sedentary to active lifestyle (three 45-minute aerobics workouts per week) improved their mental performance by as much as 25 percent in six months.
PROD YOUR MIND
Exercise for your brain is one way to delay and even reverse this brain decline. Neurobics, or aerobics for the mind, involves activating all your five senses to create new associations and neural pathways within your brain. For instance, change your morning cuppa from the coffee or tea you are accustomed to, to a low fat milk drink or a ginger lime tea. Just the new association with new odour and taste will activate new neural pathways within your brain. Word puzzles, hobbies socialising, reading, travel, any thought-provoking activities -- stimulate the brain, increasing blood cells and the connections between them. Memory games are great mental fitness boosters. Create mental stories to remember names and events--for instance to remember a name Kamal Lal, think of a red lotus. Similarly, you would be able to generate visual association if most names, however outlandish they may seem. You could even create a sequential image association if it suits you. Working your mind isnt complicated. Even simple things like taking a new route to work, reading a good book, telling a joke, using your non-dominant hand to do your daily routine like brushing your hair or your teeth can give your brain a workout. Do things a little differently, shower with your eyes closed to enjoy the texture and feel of the water on your skin. Eat wearing ear plugs focus only on the taste and aroma of the food. Interact with other people -- an essential point in this age of email and sms. Social deprivation is known to impair brain function. Take regular brain breaks through the day - play a guess game, read a general knowledge book, take up a collection or a hobby, find out as much as you can about something you want to know about. In fact, doing the following things can also give you a mental workout:
Reading books, newspapers or magazines
Listening to educational audio tapes or radio programmes
Writing, reading, or memorising poems
Keeping a journal
Learning about a complicated subject
Researching a new hobby
Doing complex calculations without using a calculator
Researching a holiday destination
Doing crossword puzzles, playing scrabble or word games
Developing your sense of humour by memorising new jokes
Please note: Watching television is not mentioned as an option.
GET THE RIGHT NUTRITION
Yes, fish is good for the skin and the brain. Getting the right mix of nutrients is critical to your mental fitness. Keeping a healthy immune system, avoiding illness and excessive medication can also be of immense help to keep your brain cells in good form. Do eat as many raw foods as you can and supplement your diet with antioxidants like Vitamin E, C and Beta carotene, herbs like ginseng, soy pills and minerals, have been proved to help in keeping the mind fighting fit. What you should include in your supplements are antioxidants like vitamin E which combat free radical production from Tobacco smoke, air pollution, ultraviolet radiation and carcinogens in our daily diet and life.
Antioxidant enzymes convert free radicals to more neutral, benign substances and nutritional antioxidants can neutralise free radicals by linking up with them. Vitamin C, in fact, has 15 times more the levels in the brain than in any other part of the body. In the early 1990s, Harold Sandstead, MD, professor of preventive medicine at the University of Texas, discovered that women whose diets lack zinc and iron had lower scores on standard examinations than women with an adequate dietary zinc and iron. He found that giving these women more zinc and iron raised their scores on memory tests by an average of 20 percent. Another important dietary element is boron, scientists at the USDAs Human Nutrition Research Centre have linked boron deficiency to chronic lethargy and fatigue. In brain studies, they found that the electrical activity of the grey matter in the boron deficient indicated increased drowsiness and mental sluggishness. Individuals whose diets included Vitamins C, E, B and beta carotene scored higher on memory tests and appeared to maintain mental function better than individuals who didnt get adequate amounts of these nutrients. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of antioxidants.
At the same time, alcohol, smoking, exposure to smoke filled environments and toxic materials affect mind power negatively. Your brain is intricately bound up with your physical state of well- being and is, therefore, vulnerable to any kind of physical abuse, especially that of chemical, or substance abuse, report Thomas H. Crook III, PhD, and Brenda Adderly, MHA, co-authors of The Memory Cure (Pocket Books). Over 15 years of alcohol abuse can cause progressive mental decline, as can periodic massive alcohol binges. And tests also show that smokers find it more difficult to put a name to a face when compared with non-smokers.
Finally, keeping yourself mentally and physically active, fit and healthy is what contributes to keeping your memory sharp as well. So pencil, in that workout, or that crossword and dont forget to pop that vitamin supplement. Your brain will thank you for it.l
**HAPPY RAMZAN KAREEM**
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aha gud info.....
thanks 4 sharing
v useful sharing